Monday, October 20, 2008

Call for screenshots

I have mentioned earlier that the Eclipse WTP project is taking steps on improving the default layout of the Java EE perspective. We made an UI walkthrough in the Eclipse UI Best Practices group and reached consensus for some small, but valuable, things to improve. We have scheduled this small step for Galileo M3.

Before we continue the discussions on the topic, we would like to look inside the development environment of WTP users. We have some statistics from the Usage Data Collector, but it is invaluable to see how Java EE developers compose the different views in an effective and convenient perspective. We are sure that everybody has its own favourite layout depending on the screen resolution and the working style.

We will be happy if you take some minutes to submit a screenshot of your IDE on the designated wiki page.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Plans for changes in the Java EE perspective

The Java EE perspective hasn't changed much in the last years. There were only minor tweaks that surely make the things better, but nothing special yet.

Recently a discussion started on how to update the default layout in the Java EE perspective. The first suggestions came from Mik Kersten. They are related about better integration with the Mylyn project. This includes:

  • adding the Task List view

  • replacing the old Problems and Tasks views with the brand new Markers view

This started tickle my mind. I have an old usability problem with server management in the Java EE perspective. When I use an application server that produces logs in the standard output (like all open source servers), whenever I execute a start, stop or deploy operation, the Console view suddenly pops up and pours tons of logs on the screen. It nice to have a view on the logs, but this hides the Servers view where I can see what's happening at a glance. In such situation I always decide to change the docking location for either the Servers view or the Console view.

So, why don't we just change the default docking location of the Servers view? I find it very comfortable on the left-bottom side - under the Project Explorer view. This way I can see both the server status and the console output without any tab switching. Another benefit is that both views, which deal with projects, are on one and the same side and I can easierly drag-and-drop a project on a server instance.

Here is how the new Java EE perspective layout would look like:
Java EE Perspective

Other thoughts that cross my mind are:

  • why do we have the Data Source Explorer view by default?

  • isn't it better to have the Snippets view docked on the right next to the Outline view rather than at the bottom?

If you have any wishes that the Java EE perspective should meet, feel free to comment in the Eclipse Bugzilla where the discussion currently happens. The community feedback is the best guarantee that we will come to great ideas!

Saturday, August 9, 2008

An easy way to unit test your EJBs

Unit testing is essential part of software development. Testing POJOs with JUnit is de facto standard. But when it comes to execute unit tests on Java EE artifacts like servlets and EJB beans, a problem arises. Java EE artifacts live in a Java EE container rather than in a pure Java Virtual Machine. How do we execute our JUnits for servlets and EJBs in the environment of the Java EE container?

The Apache Cactus project tries to solve this problem for years and, indeed, it makes more and more steps towards reaching the goal. The main problem with Cactus is that you need to run your entire application server just for the sake of unit testing your EJBs. In many cases the application server could be a monster that could eat a lot of resources of your developer system.

In this post I will uncover you a little secret on how to test your EJBs in much simpler and resource efficient way. You may have already known about the Apache OpenEJB project and the lightweight and embeddable EJB container it provides. If you still miss that, then it is a good idea to take a look at my previous blog post where you will learn how to integrate it with your Eclipse IDE.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lightweight EJB container in Eclipse

Looking for an easy and lightweight environment for developing Enterprise JavaBeans? The Eclipse IDE for Java EE Developers gives you a great tooling to develop your EJBs, while Apache OpenEJB project provides an embeddable and lightweight EJB 3.0 runtime to execute them. The glue that sticks the Eclipse's and Apache's perls together is the OpenEJB Eclipse plug-in, developed by Jonathan Gallimore. In this post I will give you some kick-off hints about installing this plug-in that integrates the OpenEJB runtime with Eclipse.


Friday, July 25, 2008

Bulgarian community in Eclipse

It is a month already after the second Eclipse DemoCamp I have organized in Sofia, Bulgaria. Despite the sunny summer Saturday afternoon, the event was as successful as the first one. A day later, while I was counting the people attended, I realized that during the two events we were nearly one hundred persons gathered totally. One hundred Eclipse fellows in Sofia! Being aware of the Regional Communities initiative of the the Eclipse Foundation, I have decided to try to organize such a community in Bulgaria.

Now all the necessary infrastructure for ramping up the Eclipse Bulgarian community is in place:

Some of the key topics in the community's activity I foresee to be:

  • continue organizing Eclipse DemoCamps - they proved to be highly attended and liked by people.

  • start with Bulgarian translation of Eclipse. Look at the Babel project.

  • prepare educational sessions about Eclipse - together with our friends from Linux for Bulgarians and their TechCamp.

  • more and more ideas that will come from all the community members.

So, if you are a Bulgarian Eclipse fellow crawling in the blog space, please feel welcome to join our new community!